Buster Posey

Buster Posey's best trait, as told by Giants' backup catcher candidates

Buster Posey's best trait, as told by Giants' backup catcher candidates

Rob Brantly and Tyler Heineman joined the Giants at an interesting time. Both are catchers who spent most of last season in Triple-A, and over the offseason they chose to join an organization that's as set at catcher as any in the sport. 

Buster Posey is preparing for his 10th consecutive Opening Day behind the plate, and the Giants have top prospect Joey Bart on the fast track. Even before COVID-19 reshuffled the decks, Bart looked like a decent bet to debut sometime this summer and join Posey as an imposing duo for years to come. 

Brantly and Heineman knew they had to thread the needle to get big league playing time, but they liked the opportunity in San Francisco. Once they arrived, they both learned the same thing about the Giants' catching situation.

Heineman was on last week's Giants Insider Podcast and Brantly joined this week. Both talked about how Posey's leadership stood out right away in camp, and how the face of the franchise made sure the catching group embraced communication and collaboration.

"I think what makes him different than superstars that I've been with is he makes you feel welcome because he asks you questions about how you do stuff," Heineman said. "It makes it seem like he's just continually trying to evolve and learn, and it also makes you feel like you're better than you think you are.

"He boosts your ego because he says, 'I like the way you do this, why do you do this?' It's like, wow, Buster Posey likes the way I do this. It strengthens the bond between you guys."

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Brantly felt that too, and he pointed out that Posey was even collaborative with young prospect Ricardo Genoves, who came to camp as a 20-year-old. Genoves, Bart and Chad Tromp rounded out a catching group that looked especially close while going through daily drills. 

"I think that's so important," Brantly said. "Him as a leader, as that figure on our team, it makes you feel so much more a part of it, especially for a guy who is just coming in like Tyler or myself or even someone like Geno who is coming up from a lower level. Same thing, he would have conversations with him. 

"The impact it has on a young guy like that, you can't even imagine."

[RELATED: How Kapler will sell undrafted players on Giants]

Posey, now 33, is reaching the point where younger players are coming in and saying they grew up watching him. Brantly, 30, and Heineman, 28, aren't quite part of that group, but they still have admired Posey from afar and were eager to soak up as much as they could this spring. 

"Buster, when he speaks, he commands a lot of respect, even with the guys who have been there a while," Brantly said. "He's a leader and being around that kind of atmosphere, being around that person, you just pay attention. You watch how he goes about his day-to-day and what makes him him, what makes Buster Buster, and you learn a lot."

On this week's podcast, Brantly also spoke about his creative Instagram workouts, the differences he sees between Gabe Kapler from last year to this year, pitchers who stood out in camp and his journey through different organizations. You can download it on iTunes here. 

Giants must stop unsanitary traditions with MLB proposed safety rules

Giants must stop unsanitary traditions with MLB proposed safety rules

Once the financial disagreements are settled, they figure out where to play, decide how many players are on a roster, lock in a universal designed hitter and check off every aspect of a complex testing system, Major League Baseball and the Giants would kind of get back to normal, right? 

Not even close.

If the sport resumes this year, possibly as early as July, it's going to have a completely different look, and not just because fans are expected to be kept out of the seats all season. 

MLB presented a 67-page document to the Players Association last week outlining health and safety protocols, and part of it focused on things players can no longer do at the ballpark. The game will have a completely different vibe in certain respects. Here's a rundown of some habits and actions the Giants will have to do away with: 

Snotrockets

When he jogged in from the bullpen in Game 7, Madison Bumgarner reached the mound, looked around, put a finger over one nostril and fired fluids into the dirt. It was his move, one that was so well known that there's even a blog that captured his snot-statistics. He was caught firing rockets over 100 times on broadcasts last season alone. 

Bumgarner is now an Arizona Diamondback, but he was hardly alone in sending bodily fluids flying. Players are constantly spitting -- in the outfield, at the plate, on the mound, in the dugout, as they lean on the rail, etc. The floor of a dugout after a game is one of the most disgusting things in professional sports. 

MLB proposed a ban on spitting, the use of smokeless tobacco and sunflower seeds in restricted areas. This is going to be a bigger adjustment than it sounds. A few years ago the league asked players to make sure tins weren't visible when they took the field, but you still see plenty of players with that familiar circle in their back pocket. It's a hard habit to shake. 

As for seeds, that might be a bit easier. Teams can remove them from the dugout. But if the Giants make the playoffs, you can forget about those seed-filled speeches that were so popular in Hunter Pence's first go-around with the team. 

Dugout celebrations

One of the funniest traditions in the sport is giving a rookie the silent treatment when he hits a home run. But MLB has proposed a ban on high-fives, fist bumps and hugs at facilities. Is this what every home run is going to look like in 2020?

We have faith that teams will find a creative workaround for big home runs, but this is still going to be a huge change. When a starter came out of the game after a good outing, Bruce Bochy would shake his hand. Then the player would walk through the dugout, getting back-slaps and high-fives and handshakes. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of physical interactions in a dugout and on the field during a game. Those won't be allowed. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

#BusterHugs

Have we seen our last Buster Hug? It's unlikely that starters will get their pitch counts high enough that they can throw no-hitters this season, but given the timing issues hitters will face early on, it wouldn't be a surprise to see a couple of combined no-hitters around MLB this season. You won't see this, though. 

Walk-offs

There are few things better than witnessing a walk-off win, and the Giants will have a few of them when they return. But they're going to be weird. Will players have to socially distance themselves as they wait for the hero to reach the plate? Will they still scream knowing that the ballpark is empty and their words won't be drowned out?

The MLB proposal did have a section addressing communal water, prohibiting coolers and jugs. Players can only get drinks from personal bottles or contactless dispensers. We've seen the end, at least temporarily, of celebrations like this one ...

Or this one ... 

Clubhouses 

MLB plans to prohibit the use of saunas, steam rooms, hydrotherapy pools and cryotherapy chambers, which is rough timing for the Giants, who just built a new spring training facility with a float tank and state-of-the-art training pools. This will be a big deal, actually, as players use all of these methods to recover from games. 

The ice bath has been upgraded over time, and it's not just for creaky old veterans. Plenty of younger Giants have embraced modern techniques to keep their muscles in shape. 

MLB's plan also says showering will be "discouraged" at club facilities, which sounds gross but really shouldn't be a deal-breaker. Guys regularly change into shorts and a t-shirt after games to eat and talk with the media, so it shouldn't be too much of an adjustment to just head home in that outfit and shower there. 

[RELATED: Giants would be at disadvantage if Universal DH implemented]

That rule does, however, take away another tradition: The rookie who gets his first hit or win and gets thrown into a shower cart and doused with beer, soap and whatever else can be found:

These are mostly minor changes in the big picture, and it's a small price to pay to get baseball back, particularly compared to what essential workers are going through right now. The sport is going to look a lot different, but let's hope the two sides get together and embrace the change. It might be an odd season, but eventually, the hope is that baseball gets back to normal ... 

Buster Posey hurts Yadier Molina's hopes to be greatest catcher ever

Buster Posey hurts Yadier Molina's hopes to be greatest catcher ever

Buster Posey always will be connected to the Molina family.

When he took over for Bengie Molina as the Giants' everyday catcher in 2010, Molina was coming off a 20-homer season for San Francisco the year prior. But Posey was one of the most talented catching prospects in ages, so the Giants traded Molina to the Texas Rangers on July 1. To keep the Posey-Molina connection alive, the Giants and Rangers squared off in the World Series that season, with the Giants winning in five games.

Posey, then only 23 years old, hit .300 with one home run in the 2010 World Series. Molina hit .182, and Posey then outplayed Bengie's younger brother, Yadier, throughout the last decade. 

Yadier has been a star in his own right, constantly sharing All-Star Game appearances with Posey on the NL roster. How does he want to be remembered? Just like most every other athlete: As the greatest at his respective position. 

Posey, unfortunately for Molina, has something to say about that. For as impressive as Molina's resume is, Posey has been the better catcher, even with Molina having six more seasons than Posey under his belt.

Let's first look at the accolades. 

Posey (1,258 regular-season games): .302/.370/.456, 1,380 hits, 140 HR, 128 OPS+, Rookie of the Year, NL MVP, 6-time All-Star, 4-time Silver Slugger, 1 Gold Glove, three-time champion
Molina (1,983 regular-season games): .282/.333/.405, 1,963 hits, 156 HR, 98 OPS+. 9-time All-Star, 9-time Gold Glove winner, 1 Silver Slugger, two-time champion

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Molina has been the better defender while Posey has been stronger offensively. However, the Giants catcher has fallen off in recent seasons as Molina has held steady. Molina, who has played his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals, actually has been a better hitter in the playoffs than Posey over a larger sample size. 

Posey's 53 playoff games are nothing to Molina's 98. And Molina has hit .273 with a .683 OPS compared to Posey's .248 batting average and .649 OPS. But it doesn't mean a thing without the rings, and Posey has three to Molina's two.

Now, it's time to get nerdy. The advanced stats simply like Posey more than Molina. Posey's 41.8 bWAR is 19th all-time among catchers. Molina is four slots lower at 40.1 despite playing over 700 more games. 

[RELATED: Five reasons why Oracle Park correctly ranked No. 1 in MLB]

Though Posey has fallen off a bit, his peak was better than Molina's, too. His 36.6 WAR7, which is the sum of the seven best WAR seasons for a player, is the ninth-best for catchers in baseball history. Molina is much lower at 24 overall with a 28.8 WAR7. 

The last WAR we'll look at is JAWS, a combination of career WAR and WAR7. Posey's 39.2 is the 15th-best for catchers, and Molina's 34.5 is 24th-best. The calculations don't come up Cardinals. They go the Giants way.

Both are all-time greats behind the dish for their abilities to affect games offensively and defensively. Neither one is the greatest catcher in baseball history.

Once again, though, Posey outplays a Molina.